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I was a police officer once. Like all cops, I learned to use the “law of probability” to figure out who is telling the truth and who isn’t. The law of probability demonstrates that writer Jason Cherkis got fed a lofty load of bull and made a fool out of himself in “Crossing the Thin Blue Line” (11/2).

Cherkis wants us to believe that Andrew Crone and Paul Regan are really good cops, part of a new breed of law enforcement that tells the truth even when it means turning in a fellow police officer. Look again at the incident. You have Crone and Regan, working undercover in Washington, D.C.’s, 6th District. Because they can’t find a worthy crime-fighting caper on their own, they jumped at the chance to follow Lt. Keith Perry and his uniformed patrol like a couple of puppy dogs. They end up confronting “victim” Alan Smith, who is armed with a police baton. When the cops, and even the riffraff Smith was loitering with, tell Smith to drop the baton, Regan, followed by Crone (after holstering his weapon, of course) move in on Smith. They manage to wrestle the baton away. Then, not being able to quickly subdue Smith and handcuff him, Regan and Crone find themselves in trouble. I’m willing to bet my next paycheck that Smith was about to kick the crap out of both Crone and Regan. Lord knows, they would never tell the truth about that! I’m also willing to bet that Perry had to help these two cops by smacking Smith with the very weapon Smith refused to drop. No one, especially a police officer, is going to believe that crap about Regan putting his own body in the way of Perry’s subsequent blows.

And how about victim Smith? Not a dope dealer, or some other kind of criminal, according to Cherkis. Smith is said to be just your average guy in his mid-30s meeting with a few friends to talk about sports and girls over a beer. And he just happens to have a police baton. Hell, almost every law-abiding guy in his mid-30s stands around talking to his pals on the street with a nightstick. If he was a law-abiding citizen, he would have dropped that stick the first time the cops told him to, but he didn’t. Because he didn’t, instead of giving him $195,000, the city should have sent him a letter telling him he’s lucky that he isn’t dead.

The law of probability is that Crone and Regan had a vastly different story until the complaints came in. Hell, I’d be thanking Perry for whacking some jerk that I had to wrestle a police baton from. I think most people would. If you don’t think so, try taking a nightstick away from the next thug you see walking down the street with one.

Police officers confront punks all the time. Don’t get me wrong: I’m against police brutality. If Smith would have dropped the baton when the cops told him to and then Perry hit him anyway, I’d say Perry should go straight to jail. The problem is, Smith didn’t drop the nightstick, and Crone and Regan had to fight with him. What people don’t realize is that cops have two qualities: They have to be guard dogs, and they have to have a love of humanity. They also have to win every fight they get into. They are not like professional boxers ending a 30-year career with a record of 17,074 wins and 2,987 losses. If that were the case, you can bet no one would become a cop, much less serve as long as Perry has. When are we going to stop caring about murderers, thieves, perverts, thugs, and punks and start backing our police officers?

Arlington, Va.